This week, Sept. 7-13, is National Suicide Prevention Week and many Bell County parents joined in the conversation Tuesday.
The Family Resource Youth Service Center in conjunction with Right Fork School Center’s Parental Involvement Programs host a series of workshops throughout the year. These parent workshops are held each month at the Right Fork School Center’s Library. These workshops are facilitated by Family Resource Coordinator Rosetta Haley and Title I Parent Liaison Marlene Knuckles.
Suicide prevention was the first of these and a film called “More Than Sad” was shown.
“The staff here at Right Fork are required by the state to watch this film on opening day of the school year,” said Guidance Counsellor Joann Smith. “I thought it would also be a good training for our parents also. Its important that everyone involved in a child’s life are able to spot the signs.”
The film, about teen suicide and depression covers many signs of and symptoms of depression that parents should be aware of such as changes in personality, and changes in eating and sleeping habits.
“This is a very important subject this day and age,” said Haley. “The way times are — you see it all the time and you might not know what a kid or even a parent might be going through.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in America.
The workshops all begin at 3:30 p.m.
The dates and topics are as follows:
Oct. 6 – Drug/Alcohol Abuse and Prevention
Nov. 10 – Dealing with Stress
Dec. 8 – Parent/Child Activity
Jan. 12 – Bullying/Internet Safety
Feb. 8 – Summer Reading camp Information
March 8 – Domestic/Child Abuse Prevention
April 5 – Testing Preparation
Following the Suicide Prevention Workshop the children were brought in to participate in “Fall into a Good Book” with their parents. The parents read with their children for 15 to 20 minutes and have a snack. All the kids then receive a prize and free books. This time they were given “The Gruffalo” by Julia Donaldson.
“The kids learn a lot with their parents,” said Haley. “It is good for everyone to work together and for the parents to be involved with the school and their child’s education.”
Participating parent Darlene Helton concurs adding, ” Many of the kids don’t have access to books except at school so this gives them an opportunity to take some books home. My child loves it and looks forward to it each month.
These parent/child reading events occur every month and begin at 4 p.m..
The dates and topics for the reading events are as follows:
Oct. 6 – Books are “Spooktacular”
Nov. 10 – Thankful for Books
Dec. 8 – Give the Gift of Reading
Jan. 12 – Curl up with a Good Book
Feb. 8 – Warm up with a Good Book
March 8 Get “Eggcited” over reading
April 5 – Spring into Literacy
Families are encouraged to volunteer throughout the year with the Right Fork School Center Parent Volunteer Program. In order to coordinate the school’s volunteer activities, all prospective volunteers must attend a Parent Volunteer Session at the school with a background check and confidentiality training. Anyone interested may contact Marlene Knuckles on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m..
The Children’s Foundation of Appalachia and Red Fork School center are also planing to set dates for Ready for Kindergarten Sessions and the public is asked to look for those schedules to be posted in October. Special rewards for participants in the Ready for Kindergarten sessions are always given out, and free books are provided for children ranging from 0-8 years old.
“We are in our fifth year now,” said Children’s Reading Foundation of Appalachia Executive Director Debbie Knuckles. “We sometimes need to remind people of our message because that is as important as the free books if not more so, because this changes the culture as it changes the child. We want to change it for all the future generations of our children by educating the parent the importance of reading to the child.”
The foundation is non-profit and relies largely on the community to fund their programs. For more information about the Children’s Reading Foundation of Appalachia, and their programs, visit them online at readingfoundation.org or on Facebook at the Children’s Reading Foundation of Appalachia Kentucky or visit them at their Middlesboro Mall location on Tuesdays.
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
Reach William Tribell at (606) 302-9100 or on Twitter @wtribellmdn